The Arizona Cardinals play in arguably the toughest division in the NFL. The NFC West is stacked with talented teams and should make for a tight race next season. For Arizona to make the playoffs, they’ll need a plethora of players to step up and make big plays.
With Kyler Murray leading the way, Arizona will have a fighting chance in every game. The team utilizes an air-raid attack that gives Murray the freedom to do as he pleases. Having DeAndre Hopkins helps too, as he’s considered to be one of the best wide receivers in the league right now. While those two are unquestionably the best offensive weapons of the Cardinals, there are other weapons on the team who could blossom into a star in the upcoming season.
This roster is still rather young. There are a handful of players that could be in for a big year, but only a few stand out at the top. With that said, here are three potential breakout players for the Arizona Cardinals next season.
Chase Edmonds might be in for the biggest leap in production after the front office elected to not re-sign Kenyan Drake. They did acquire James Conner who will likely share the rock with Edmonds throughout the year. Even so, Edmonds is the running back to keep an eye on, as he’s a great scat-back to help in the passing game.
Edmonds fits the Cardinals’ offensive scheme perfectly. Last year was his best season yet as he obtained 850 total yards from scrimmage. He also scored five touchdowns, four of which came through the air. With James Conner taking care of the short yard opportunities, Edmonds is in a position to break 1,000 scrimmage yards in 2021 and possibly earn himself a nice-sized contract next offseason.
The first-round pick from the 2020 NFL Draft, Isaiah Simmons should have a much improved season in his second year. With Chandler Jones coming back and the addition of JJ Watt, Simmons will likely capitalize on one-on-one opportunities.
He has a real chance to secure a minimum of 10 sacks next year, which would be a huge leap in production. If Simmons can reach that potential in year two, the Cardinals defense could have one of the best front sevens in the game. Look for Simmons to get aggressive this year and serve as a vocal leader for this defense, as that was one of his best traits coming out of Clemson.
Christian Kirk has had a roller coaster of a career so far, but he’s in line to finally have the breakout year we’ve all been waiting for. Larry Fitzgerald is finally gone and the front office replaced him with AJ Green. Another solid veteran, but Green plays more like a WR3 these days. Additionally, the Cardinals drafted Rondale Moore in the 2021 NFL Draft, but luckily for Kirk, Moore is a specialized weapon built for the slot role.
He’ll have to earn the starting spot alongside Hopkins, but Kirk has the potential to be Murray’s second option next season. Arizona likes to air it out, which means Kirk could be receiving a healthy dose of targets. Kirk has yet to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in his three years in the league, but everything is aligning for him to finally emerge as a true WR2 on the Cardinals.